Hildreth Institute affirms its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

As Hildreth Institute continues to work for educational equity in the United States, we call for justice and equity for Black Americans.

We remain vigilant to biases and structural barriers that impede people of color, immigrants, and low-income communities, in whom we center our work, from closing opportunity gaps and achieving educational equity.

We choose our mission, to democratize higher education because equity in opportunity is a social justice issue. Only when higher education becomes affordable, accessible, and equitable can it be an engine of upward mobility for all.

College access has increased in the past five decades. Nearly half of undergraduates are students of color, but Black students continue to lag behind. However, the return on investment in a college degree has not paid off. Today, earning a degree coincides with taking on a lifetime burden of student debt repayment.

Data shows that today a typical Black or Hispanic household headed by a bachelor degree holder has barely any more wealth than the typical Black or Hispanic household headed by a nongraduate.

George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are the most recent victims of police brutality toward Black Americans, but the list is far longer as this has been going for too long.

Racism is pollution. It’s in our air, water, and soil. It has permeated our systems of education, health care, governance, law, and law enforcement.

When we eliminate racism, we will improve the health, equity, and quality of life for all individuals, families, and communities.

Over the last several weeks, we have joined forces with our sister organization Inversant to create a permanent task force where we will ask ourselves the tough questions and identify paths to disrupt institutionalized racism.

We identified the following steps:

CREATE EQUITABLE & SAFE SPACES

We’ll look carefully at the spaces we’ve created to ensure they’re equitable, inclusive, and safe.

We’ll scrutinize the language and tone we use to communicate internally and externally. We acknowledge respectful tone and inclusive language as integral to safe spaces.

PRACTICE INCLUSIVITY

We’ll examine our intentions and actions, approaching them through a lens of intersectionality. We’ll equip ourselves with resources and expertise to put our intentions into consistent action.

We’ll strive for the impact that reflects our intention. We acknowledge they aren’t mutually inclusive.

We’ll invite internal and external reviews of our programs. We’ll include our participants, board members, donors, and partners in evaluating our work for inclusiveness, equity, and alignment with anti-racist practices.

We’ll invite internal and external guidance on improving our programs.

PRACTICE ANTI-RACISM

We’ll identify and engage with community organizations deeply entrenched in anti-racism work. We’ll learn from them. We’ll share what we know.

We’ll actively support these community organizations with individual financial contributions and work-sponsored volunteer time.

WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY

We remain an organization dedicated to eliminating systemic inequity. We’ll continue learning from our work and from the communities and stakeholders who partner with us in it.

In the days and months ahead, we’ll share our efforts. We’ll strive for transparency and inclusivity as individuals, as an organization, and as part of an ecosystem of anti-racism organizations.

We’ll do this because we know we can do better.

Because we can’t challenge others before challenging ourselves. Because anti-racism requires more than thoughts and feelings.

It requires introspection and action.

Hildreth Institute fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement and we’re stepping up our fight in the war against racism.

RESOURCES:

We will continue to increase awareness of local and national groups dedicated to supporting black communities and communities of color. Below is a list of important resources.

Lists of Black-owned companies in the Boston area. #buyblack

How to join a public board or commission in Massachusetts

MA Black and Latino Legislative Caucus: In the wake of anti-police brutality reform.

Campaign Zero: List of resources to encourage racial equity through legislation, community action, and more.

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM): Group aimed at removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing. They do this through education, training, advocacy, and the creative arts.

Blackboston.com: Search one thousand Massachusetts certified minority-owned enterprises controlled by Black men and women from the BlackBoston.com website.

Intersectionality Matters Podcast: The podcast that brings intersectionality to life.

The Code Switch Podcast: Race and identity, remixed.

Originally posted on Inversant, our sister organization.